The School District of Manatee County has announced the winners of the 2022 Excellence in Education Awards. Manatee County's Educator of the Year is Deelah Jackson, fourth grade teacher at Samoset Elementary School, who has been with the district for six years. The Support Employee of the Year is Kari Keech-Babcock, guidance secretary at Lakewood Ranch High School, who has been with the school district for four years.
Both winners receive a $5,000 cash prize, provided by Suncoast Credit Union; an all-expenses-paid gathering for 24 friends and family in the Mayor’s Suite at LECOM Park in Bradenton during a Pittsburgh Pirates game, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates; a $2,500 scholarship to Nova Southeastern University; a two-night stay at the Courtyard/Hampton Inn by Marriott Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch; customized spa service from Sirius Day Spa; and more. Jackson will advance to the Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year program, while Keech-Babcock will advance to the Florida School-Related Employee of the Year Program.
The district's remaining six finalists will receive a $1,000 cash award from the Manatee Education Foundation, among other prizes.